Asylum

Asylum, migration and borders

The migrant crisis has triggered challenges across Europe. FRA encourages rights-compliant responses.

We provide practical expertise on this complex issue. This includes regular updates, focus papers and toolkits. We outline policy alternatives and best practices.

Highlights

  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    17
    December
    2020
    The European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law provide an increasingly important
    framework for the protection of the rights of foreigners. European Union legislation relating to asylum,
    borders and immigration is developing fast. There is an impressive body of case law by the European
    Court of Human Rights relating in particular to Articles 3, 5, 8 and 13 of the ECHR. The Court of Justice
    of the European Union is increasingly asked to pronounce on the interpretation of European Union
    law provisions in this field. The third edition of this handbook, updated up to July 2020, presents this
    European Union legislation and the body of case law by the two European courts in an accessible way.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    27
    March
    2020
    Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) Member States have an undeniable sovereign right to control the entry of non-nationals into their territory. While exercising border control, states have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality and/or legal status. Under EU law, this includes providing access to asylum procedures.
  • Page
    ‘Hotspots’ are facilities set up at the EU’s external border in Greece and Italy for the initial reception, identification and registration of asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the EU by sea. They also serve to channel newly-arrived people into international protection, return or other procedures.
  • Periodic updates / Series
    18
    February
    2013
    Based on its findings and research FRA provides practical guidance to support the implementation of fundamental rights in the EU Member States. This series contains practical guidance on:
    Initial-reception facilities at
    external borders; Apprehension of migrants in an irregular situation; Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries; Fundamental rights implications of the obligation to provide fingerprints for Eurodac; Twelve operational fundamental rights considerations for law enforcement when processing Passenger Name Record (PNR) data and Border controls and fundamental rights at external land borders.
Products
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or in
cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle
of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which
prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This report aims to encourage fundamental-rights
compliant approaches to border management, including by highlighting potential grey areas.
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or in cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This guidance outlines specific suggestions on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in these
situations – a practical tool developed with the input of experts during a meeting held in
Vienna in March of 2016.
29
November
2016
Without being exhaustive, this opinion discusses selected topics which touch certain Charter rights, identifying the challenges and describing measures that could be taken to mitigate the risk of actions, which are not compliant with the Charter. It does not focus exclusively on risks arising in direct relation to the involvement of EU actors on the ground, but also takes into account that the hotspot approach entails a certain share of responsibility of the EU for the situation in the hotspots overall.
Report / Paper / Summary
22
November
2016
Asylum seekers and migrants face various forms of violence and harassment across the European Union (EU). As this month’s report on the migration situation underscores, such acts are both perpetrated and condoned by state authorities, private individuals, as well as vigilante groups. They increasingly also target activists and politicians perceived as ‘pro-refugee’.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament Employment Committee on 8 November.
Report / Paper / Summary
25
October
2016
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in those Member States that have been particularly affected by large migration movements. This month's focus section reviews persistent key issues since initial reporting began one year ago.
The Agency shared its view on protecting child rights in the Dublin Procedure, particularly for unaccompanied children at a hearing organised by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in Brussels on 10 October.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen
fundamental rights in 2015. Some of these efforts produced important progress; others fell short of their aims. Meanwhile,
various global developments brought new – and exacerbated existing – challenges.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued
numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen fundamental rights in 2015.
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2016 summarises and analyses major
developments in the fundamental rights field, noting both progress made
and persisting obstacles. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the
main developments in the thematic areas covered and a synopsis of the
evidence supporting these opinions. In so doing, it provides a compact but
informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting
the EU and its Member States.
29
May
2016
This Focus takes a closer look at asylum and migration issues
in the European Union (EU) in 2015. It looks at the effectiveness of measures taken or proposed by the EU and its Member States
to manage this situation, with particular reference to their fundamental rights compliance.
The Fundamental Rights Forum (FRF) is organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in cooperation with various partners. Refugee Protection is one of the three themes for the FRF which will take place in Vienna from 20-23 June 2016.
6
April
2016
FRA’s opinions highlight general fundamental rights implications to be considered when applying the safe countries of origin concept. They should be read together with the relevant safeguards the Asylum Procedures Directive establishes. These safeguards provide for minimum guarantees that must also fully apply to applicants originating from countries on the proposed EU common list of safe countries of origin.
17
March
2016
Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness
in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals
and EU citizens - as workers, but also as consumers - have to date not received much
attention from researchers. This report identifies risk factors contributing to such exploitation and
discusses means of improving the situation and highlights the challenges EU institutions and
Member States face in making the right of workers who have moved within or into the EU
to decent working conditions a reality.
Periodic updates / Series
27
January
2016
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in those Member States that have been particularly affected by large migration movements.
This infographic outlines FRA's work along a simplified version of the EU migration flow. Each item is hyperlinked so you can find out more on each topic.
20
November
2015
Children are full-fledged holders of rights. They are beneficiaries of all human and fundamental rights and subjects of special regulations, given their specific characteristics. This handbook aims to illustrate how European law and case law accommodate the specific interests and needs of children.
22
October
2015
Processing biometric data for immigration, asylum and border management purposes has become common. This focus paper looks at measures authorities can take to enforce the obligation of newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation to provide fingerprints for inclusion in Eurodac.
16
October
2015
This report explores the key features of guardianship systems put in place to cater for the needs of all children in need of protection, including child victims and those at risk of becoming victims of trafficking in human beings or of other forms of exploitation. The research covers four specific areas, namely the type of guardianship systems in place, the profile of appointed guardians, the appointment procedures, and the tasks of the guardians.
9
October
2015
For asylum and return (i.e. expulsion) procedures to be implemented effectively, people need to be at the disposal of the authorities so that any measure requiring their presence can be taken without delay. To achieve this, EU Member States may decide to hold people in closed facilities. Less intrusive measures, which are usually referred to as alternatives to detention, reduce the risk that deprivation of liberty is resorted to excessively.
Significant increase in arrivals in Greece, overcrowding of reception centres and violence against migrants at the borders are some of the fundamental rights concerns FRA identifies in its latest migration quarterly report. It also highlights the situation in the Mediterranean, where boats with migrants were still being forced to remain at sea, waiting for weeks or days until they were allowed to disembark.
On 18 October, FRA took part in a Brussels event on interoperable EU IT-systems in the area of migration and security.
FRA presented its focus paper on returning unaccompanied children and fundamental rights considerations to a workshop of the Intergovernmental Consultation on migration, asylum and refugees.
The recent tragedy where 39 people were found dead in a lorry in the UK underlined the extreme price people pay to unscrupulous people smugglers. In the wake of this, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reiterates its call for more safe legal pathways to Europe to help stem the tide of human smuggling.
On 24 October, FRA contributed to the training of migration experts in Brussels from the Belgian institution responsible for the reception of asylum seekers, Fedasil.
At the invitation of the European Commission, FRA contributed to NGO discussions on the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to migrants.
FRA presented the 10 keys to effectively communicating rights and its implementation during a roundtable discussion in Brussels on 18 September.
On 20 September, FRA took part in a National Contact Points meeting of the European Migration Network (EMN).
Upon request by the Spanish authorities, FRA has carried out its fourth capacity building workshop from 10 to 11 September for staff working in El Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI) Ceuta.
Last year, almost 20,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in the EU; some inevitably have to leave. FRA’s latest focus paper guides national authorities when deciding whether to return children, not accompanied by parents, to their home countries to ensure compliance with EU and international law.
FRA spoke about migration narratives during a European Migration Network seminar in Slovakia that ran from 20 to 22 August.
Across the EU, various promising initiatives have sprung up to support young migrants become part of European society, following the large-scale influx of migrants and refugees to the EU. Marking International Youth Day on 12 August, FRA draws attention to their situation and urges Member States to do more to help them fully integrate.
Food deprivation, removals with no prior notice and the arrest of humanitarian workers carrying out search and rescue operations at sea are some of the fundamental rights concerns FRA identifies in its latest migration quarterly. It reports on some of the fallout in EU Member States as they continue to harden their migration policies and laws. It also highlights longstanding problems resulting from overcrowding and asylum processing.
FRA has just updated its annual overview of effective forced return monitoring systems across the EU.
FRA attended and provided expert input to a Council of Europe ad-hoc expert meeting on statelessness.
FRA research published today highlights the urgent need for European governments to do more to tackle severe labour exploitation in firms, factories and farms across the EU. First-hand interviews with hundreds of exploited workers reveal the illegal practices in sectors including agriculture, construction, domestic work, hospitality, manufacturing and transport.
On 19 June, FRA gave a presentation to the Council of the EU’s FRONTIERS Working Party in Brussels.
FRA joined a panel debate on rethinking the way you cover migration during the Global Editors Summit in Athens that took place from 13 to 14 June.
Following a request from the Spanish authorities, FRA carried out its third capacity building workshop for staff working in the Spanish migrant reception centre, El Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI), in Melilla from 12 to 13 June.
Over six people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2018. Tougher migration policies have been undermining civil society rescue efforts to save lives and bring migrants in distress at sea to safety, as recent FRA research shows.